Is there anything better than a summer at Saratoga? It is a complex question, but it has nothing short of the easiest of answers. Once again, NYRA will host one of the most celebrated meets in all of Thoroughbred racing.
HorseRacing.net/us will be with you every step of the way, as we offer a full slate of selections, and put forth some specific analysis on a select set of races. This time of year, brings the threat of pop-up showers, so be sure to monitor the forecasts each day because it could impact the conditions on the Mellon and Inner Turf Courses. Stay tuned …
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It is Friday “Turf Edition” time … Ready grass connoisseurs? How about it blade runners? When it comes to singular ownership there are few more accomplished than Gary Barber. His hot pink silks have visited many a winner’s circle over the years. This summer should be no different. He owns the Chris Englehart-trained 4-yr-old filly, Violent Point #7. If you know anything about Violence’s offspring, they can handle the grass and sprint well. This one might get overlooked in this race because she has not exhibited much in her past 2 ALLW Co. events. One of those got rained off the turf course at Belmont, though both races were snubs when it came to the results. I like this particular position because it is a chance to wipe the slate clean. Making some significant headway would not be out of the realm of possibility. It was only back in May that she scored. The rider switch from Eric Cancel to Manny Franco appears just, and though this filly could be tired, it could be the complete opposite—fit and ready to fire. Oh … and did I mention the price? To the tune of 15/1 … not too bad at all when it comes to a field with a tepid group of favorites. And yes, I think Three Diamonds Farm’s entry, Time Limit #10 falls precisely in this category.
Going 11-furlongs is never a walk in the park, but if a jockey can settle his mount early, he might have the chance to have enough turn-of-foot to sweep through for the win. In this spot at Saratoga, we find a number of long shots that are capable of getting home in fine fashion at boxcar prices. Despite this assertion, I have a selection in this spot that is pretty inviting. I am hoping that the price on Mike Maker’s 4-yr-old gelding, Ajourneytofreedom #7 slips a bit. He is 3/1 on the M/L, and anything above that is an overlay in my book. There is much to like with this runner … out of Hard Spun, he has a strong class rating, and should be able to handle this distance. In fact, last out in the Belmont Gold Cup (G2), he went 2 miles. The cutback in here should be appreciated, and I am convinced that having Joel Rosario ride once more is the best decision possible. He has the ability to make marginal or average horses much better. This is one that can be a class act having competed against the likes of Gufo, Fancy Liquor, Spooky Channel, Arklow, and Red Knight, just to name a few. This is a sure fire “win” bet, and if you are looking for a “Single” in sequence, then he fits in well there too.
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Cold, 7 w 1-6/9-11
Race 9: Turf, 1 Mile, Lake George S. (G2), $150k, 3F
The Grade III Lake George tells us that we are getting deeper into the Saratoga Meet, and this race is a good one when it comes to betting opportunities. Over the years, Chad Brown has won his fair share of these with names like … Mrs McDougal, Ancient Secret, Regal Glory, and last year, with Selflessly. Once again, he is flush with entrants, including Fluffy Socks #3, Amy C #6, Technical Analysis #8, and Minaun #10. Of those I continue to be impressed with “Amy” because the sky is the limit for this runner. She got jostled around in her U.S. debut, but that did not deter her from getting across the wire to break her maiden. The Michael Dubb and Madaket folks are hoping for big things from her as the season develops. A win here would be monumental, and probably would propel her up the filly depth chart, if she is not there already.
Despite Brown’s reconnaissance in force, another entrant that looks pretty special comes from the barn of Todd Pletcher. He has Jouster #5 looking smart, even though she finished off-the-board in the Wonder Again (G3) at Belmont. The question is, was that race a tougher one than this spot? Maybe … you did have the likes of Con Lima, Plum Ali, and Gift List drawn in, and they did finish 1-2-3. Getting the cutback in distance should suit this filly out of Noble Mission (GB), and I really think Luis Saez has graduated to the big leagues of elite turf racing. The M/L of 7/2 would be a steal for this St. Elias bred, and Starlight/Glen Hill-owned turf racer who likes to steal races while loose on the lead. Watch out!
Wagering Recommendation: $25/$50 WP #5
Race 10: Turf, 5½F, MC50k, F&M 3+
The finale in J.N. Campbell’s “Turf Edition” is a tough 11-horse field turf sprint … and boy, we could go all over the place with selections. If you are playing some horizontal ticks, then you might want to get your trigger finger ready, because it will probably be “caveman” time once you reach the window. I am not without opinions in this spot, and certainly there are ways to whittle this field down a bit.
To commence … I am pretty interested in the work of Char Baker’s Artyistheparty #8. This filly is out of some well-bred turf parents in Cairo Prince and Cause She’s Fast. I also like the connection to breeder Brereton Jones, who as you probably know, is the former governor of the state of Kentucky. Though this one was beaten by 4+ lengths last time at Belmont in a 1 Mile affair, going shorter should suit, as well as the BEL-SPA angle. Sometimes runners that do poorly in Elmont, really turn it around up at Saratoga. I am hoping that she can use her turf pedigree to her advantage, and that Jose Lezcano can put to use what he learned about her from that last go.
As for a couple of other selections … I also am intrigued by Wesley Ward’s High Fair #2, since she is out of American Pharoah. Ward is hot right now, and that makes him very dangerous. When he and Rosario get together, they are dynamite. You know the Kentucky-based trainer is going to have his charge ready to come bursting from the gate.
As for a super longshot, if you are in the market for a big price, then check out Oscar Barrera’s Janselle #5. How about 50/1 on the M/L? This filly has some upside, as she already has her debut race out of the way. Getting first-time Lasix can be a positive, as she tries to put that Belmont race behind her. On the grass going 6F she was dead last, 13-lengths off the lead. Recently though she had a sharp work, and this daughter of Lea might surprise with young jockey Jalon Samuel riding. He was making some noise back in Elmont. This could be a massive “trifecta,” if we could get it home!
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Box, 2/5/8
Enjoy some action from the SPA! The tradition at Saratoga Race Course marches on …